OXNARD, Calif. – Jeremy Mincey's not among those worried about the defense after the preseason opener.
The Cowboys' starting right end watched the Chargers rack up 395 yards of total offense, including 111 first-half rushing yards, but Mincey's not concerned with the first showing.
In fact, in his first season in Dallas, he sees something in this defense he hasn't seen previously during his previous seven years in the league.
"Got a lot of good friends on the team," Mincey said. "I mean, it's the most I've hung with any of my teammates in a long time, as much as I do. Don't get me wrong, I've been on some good teams where I was friends with my guys. But as a whole, man, everybody's cool and it's starting to jell and it's starting to mesh. I think we have a chance to have something special here, man, seriously."
Mincey's spent the majority of his career with the Jaguars but also spent the end of the 2013 season and the postseason with the AFC champion Broncos. He didn't record a start last year, serving as a rotational lineman, but he'll be one of the newcomers counted on to make a difference.
All the focus on the line entering camp centered on second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence. But with the rookie hurt for the start of the regular season, Mincey should see an increased workload.
"I see a large amount of opportunity," Mincey said. "I usually take advantage of my opportunities. I always have. That's why I'm still here nine seasons later. Then, it's a great organization. They do things the right way around here."
If Mincey can look like the eight-sack player he was in 2011 with the Jags, it'd go a long way in helping the Cowboys dodge the label as the worst defense in the NFL.
Mincey did draw a holding call in the preseason opener, but the Cowboys' pass rushers didn't do much to quell the worries about a defense that struggled to pressure the quarterback last season. The Chargers quarterbacks were perfect through three quarters and had a lot of time to throw throughout the night. [embedded_ad]
The reason Mincey wasn't concerned with how the defense played is because he believes the coaches are just figuring out right now what their players can do. He expects the mistakes to be corrected by the next preseason game.
"We can get a lot better," Mincey said. "Shoot, we've got a ways to go. We've been working hard. Team's starting to mesh well. Right now is really a large amount of evaluation for the younger guys. We just want to see what our youngster guys can do."
Mincey was one of six defenders starting in Thursday's preseason opener actually expected to start when the regular season begins. The defensive performance wasn't what many had hoped it would be, but Mincey believes the defense will be all right.
"Like I was saying earlier, they ran draws in Cover 2," Mincey said. "That's hard to cover. It's just things we can clean up out there. Obviously, I hate to lose, period. As a team, you always want to win, but sometimes it's good to see that so you can get evaluated on how you handle certain situations and take it to the next level next time."